- Water (from Mother Nature):
There is no mains water to speak of on Carriacou. Although a fancy new desalination plant has been installed fairly recently the roll out of piping to houses has progressed very slowly (at Caribbean speed) and we were told it would likely never get to the Tyrell Bay area yet alone Hermitage a mile further on. So in common with almost every other Kayak (the local name for the islanders) we would need to have a large cistern to catch rainwater.
Although there are only two seasons on Carriacou called the rainy season and the dry season the difference is only fairly slight as it rains all year round in torrential bursts that are typical of tropical areas.
Checking the local rainfall (above) shows it to be 78 inches per year which is 6.5 feet. Our roof has an area of 2,183 square feet meaning 14,189 cubic feet of water can be captured per year. This converts to just over four hundred thousand litres. Our cistern is able to hold around one hundred thousand litres when filled to a depth of 10 feet. A typical person uses about 133 litres per day so four people will use about two hundred thousand litres in a year.
This means that even without periodic top-ups from Mother Nature our cistern will hold six months supply for four people or a year’s worth of water for two. But given the roof’s ability to deliver so much water to the cistern during a downpour my concern is whether a four inch overflow pipe is big enough to get rid of the inflowing water quickly enough — but so long as the roof gutters end up in a four inch incoming pipe then the inflow will always match the overflow.
Our hot water we plan to make free of charge using a roof-mounted solar heater which Sky is contracted to do.
Although many people drink their water straight from the cistern without even boiling it first we plan to run our water through an ultraviolet sterilising unit making it safe to drink. Only when the house is constructed and the ‘taint’ from the concrete has subsided will the general quality and taste of the water be known, but keeping the cistern free of debris, mosquito larvae and avoiding ‘dead legs’ in the plumbing that could allow legionella bacteria to multiply are all a big responsibility especially with me doing almost all of the plumbing. But there is always bottled water to drink and a nice warm ocean nearby to bathe in.
Electricity (from Grenlec):
With lots of bright sunshine solar panels are an obvious thought. The trouble is the efficiency of PV panels reduces quite markedly as they get hot …and they would get very hot in this fierce sun. Also they don’t last forever and I don’t much like them. I have considered one or two to power only the lighting for the house by using leisure batteries to store the daily charge and then sticking this through an inverter to make the right sort of electricity. But since we are lucky enough to have the benefit of an almost constant sea breeze, a small marine micro wind turbine seems a much better and more reliable option — especially since the breeze also comes at night unlike the sun.
Around the exterior of the house are planned to be small individual solar-powered lights which means no wiring which is nice a simple. With no light pollution the nights are as black as soot which is lovely so we do not want to disturb this with lots of light. However, small numbers of low-level LEDs should at least make it safe for us and guests to walk around at night.
Internet (from Flow):
Expected to be slow and intermittent and similarly the TV delivered via the same wire, but life used to be good enough before these things so I’m sure we’ll cope.